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Fresh start with solo exhibits

Joy Kirkwood and Rose Eysmond come from different worlds.

Joy Kirkwood and Rose Eysmond come from different worlds.

Kirkwood, a Nova Scotian, is a grandmother, a teacher and an art doll creator while Eysmond, a Russian emigrant, is a mother of a toddler and a preschooler and squeezes in her painting at night, when the children are asleep.

But while both have been on separate life paths, the pair share at least one thing in common: They want to make a name for themselves again through their visual artwork.

Kirkwood moved in Coquitlam two years ago after 29 years in Calgary, where she was known for her craft and for being an artist-in-residence at elementary schools.

Here, she's had to go back to square one and rebuild her reputation. And, so far, she's been successful, having had her pieces exhibited seven times since last year, including in a touring display with the North Shore Credit Union, in the Celebration of Light at Port Coquitlam's Leigh Square Community Arts Village, at the Port Moody Public Library and at in the Positively Petite miniature show at Coquitlam's Place des Arts, where she has taught acrylic painting to adults and will open a solo exhibit with Eysmond tomorrow (Thursday).

This spring, her Place des Arts instruction will expand with Imagination Station classes for preschoolers as well as an East Meets West watercolour painting course.For Kirkwood, educating and art go hand in hand. "I remember being in Grade 2 and figuring out whether I wanted to be in art or teach," she said. "Luckily, I got to do both."

Her Place des Arts exhibit in the Atrium Gallery, titled Stories to Tell, involves 27 works, 14 of which are small sculptures, woven with recycled and found materials that have stones for faces, and 13 are complementary paintings "to enhance their story, taking the abstract to a 3D to a flat surface."

She sees her bendable art dolls as muses. They are troubadors from around the world with legends or folklore tales attached. Still, they are faceless. "I didn't want to project a certain emotion or place in time for them," she said. "People will see what they want to see in them."

Eysmond is just as eager as Kirkwood to get established locally, having moved from St. Petersburg to Coquitlam five years ago. Her Place des Arts exhibit in the Mezzanine Gallery, titled Windows, features 14 oil and acrylic paintings of windows, window treatments, reflections and views from windows - most of them created in the past five months (she also has set a tight timeline for her next display, titled Still Life or Not, at the Port Moody Arts Centre in July).

Her keenness to have her work in the spotlight again is understandable, given her background. Eysmond hails from an artist family - her father is a philosopher, her mother a writer - and, from an early age, they saw their daughter's talent and

Artist worked in France, N.M.

enrolled her in art school. She attended the Academy of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg and graduated seven years ago with a master's degree in fine arts.

As well, the award-winning artist has plied her trade in France and New Mexico and, in 2005, was given the jury's choice award and the southwestern prize from the Roswell Fine Arts Leagueand New Mexico Art Society. Since being in Canada, she has taken part in several small group and solo shows and auctions, the latest for the Celebration of Light at Leigh Square.

But it will be her solo exhibit at Place des Arts where she plans to solidify her position as a prominent Metro Vancouver artist and perhaps, one day, start teaching art to young people.

"I think I'm getting to the point in my life where I want to do this full-time again and this is very exciting for me."

The opening reception for Joy Kirkwood and Rose Eysmond's exhibits is March 10 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Place des Arts.